Posted on 05/02/2019 via BSH Home Appliances Group

The Food Journey Takes Center Stage

Innovative – the Chinese side-by-side refrigerator from Siemens fulfils consumer wishes along the entire food journey. Be inspired.

One of the award winners at this year’s internal BSH Innovation Award is the connected Chinese side-by-side refrigerator with smart stock management solution from Siemens. Project Director Marco Giacchi from Giengen, Germany, and Product Manager Jie Meng from Nanjing, China, report about the added value of the innovative solution.

Which consumer wishes does the refrigerator fulfil?
Jie Meng: Do you know exactly what’s inside your freezer or do you sometimes discover that the frozen food you wanted to heat up is not there anymore? Maybe you even had to discard some of the food you stored in your fridge or freezer because it has been left in there longer than intended. Object recognition software and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, which have been integrated in Siemens’ side-by-side refrigerator, help to solve both of these major pain points. Once the appliance knows what’s inside, it provides a one-stop food journey solution for consumers, including smart food management functions like an inventory list, expiration reminders and storage suggestions.

How do object recognition and RFID technology work?
Marco Giacchi: While cameras in the fridge have been available for some time in our cooling appliances, we had the idea to integrate an additional object recognition feature into the system. It automatically recognizes the most fundamental food stock and provides tips on the best place to store them in the refrigerator. For food items in the freezer, consumers can use the new RFID tags. The RFID technology uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track these tags. 15 tags – including five predefined ones for chicken, sausage, dumplings, fish and pork – are delivered with the appliance. They contain electronically stored information like type of food or storability, for example. Once the tags are registered with a special antenna, the stored information is sent to the Home Connect server. Based on this data, the Home Connect app on a consumers’ mobile device or the TFT display on the fridge then show the inventory list and offer recipe suggestions. And if any food items are still missing, consumers can buy them online from a Home Connect partners directly from their displays. That means the entire food journey is covered.

How does the appliance fit into the BSH Hardware+ strategy?
Jie Meng: The refrigerator is an excellent example of the BSH Hardware+ strategy, since both the hardware and the additional digital services offer a host of new possibilities for consumers. Local Chinese home appliances manufacturers have already been offering connected appliances for some years, but in the refrigeration area they focus mainly on communication and entertainment on the appliance and less so on the actual needs relating to the refrigerator. This is where we offer real added value: Since the official launch of the innovative refrigerator in October 2018 BSH is the only supplier on the Chinese market to offer an appliance with RFID technology in this form and to therefore also integrate the freezer compartment in the food journey. This is one of the many reasons why the appliance won BSH’s “Solution of the Year Award” this year.